India farmers’ protests: Son of India government minister arrested, accused of killing four farmers

The son of a government minister has been arrested after being accused of running over and killing four farmers last week.

Police arrested Ashish Mishra, the son of junior home minister Ajay Mishra Teni, late on Saturday after around 12 hours of questioning.

The farmers, killed last week in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, were part of India’s longest-running agricultural protest – opposing laws they fear will reduce guaranteed minimum prices for their crops.

Mr Mishra had not responded to a police summons on Friday, said Deputy Inspector General Upendra Agarwal, who is in charge of the investigation.

He then gave “evasive answers” and did not cooperate during questioning, according to NDTV.

“We are taking Ashish Mishra in custody. He was not cooperating in the investigation,” General Agarwal said.

Farmers had claimed the car which crashed into the protesters in his car around 80 miles (130km) north of the state’s capital Lucknow was owned by Mr Mishra.

Shortly after the crash, Mr Teni said his son was not at the site and that a car driven by “our driver” had lost control and hit the farmers after “miscreants” pelted it with stones and attacked it with sticks and swords.

The incident sparked protests that claimed four more lives, including that of a local journalist.

The protests initially started when the government passed the new agriculture laws last September that farmers say will shatter their livelihoods – and fresh protests have spread to New Delhi as more information about the deaths emerged.

Last month, thousands of farmers gathered at the edges of the capital New Delhi to mark one year of demonstrations, while others have gained momentum in Uttar Pradesh ahead of a state assembly election next year.

The government says the new laws will help growers get better prices.

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